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Wilson, Officer Edwin

End of Watch: 
Wednesday, September 24, 1919
County: 
King
Agency: 
Seattle P.D.

On Wednesday morning, September 24, 1919 at 3:10 a.m., Mr. H. N. Bell called Seattle Police. He had been waiting for a friend at the corner of 21st Ave. and Madison St. when he saw two men get into a violent argument. One of them drew a pistol and fired a shot. The two subjects ran away when Bell yelled at them.

SPD Motorcycle Patrol Officers F. R. Gladwin, Claud Rix, R. R. Moulton, and Edwin Wilson, 29, were dispatched to the call from Police Headquarters at 400 Yesler. The officers conducted a search for the two subjects, but did not find them. Shortly before 3:30 a.m., the officers headed back to Police Headquarters via Madison St. Just west of 13th Ave., Officer Wilson’s motorcycle hit an unknown object in the road. The motorcycle skidded along the curb for about thirty feet and then hit a telephone pole. Officer Wilson was thrown into the middle of Madison St. between the street car tracks. Officer Bell administered first aid to Wilson while Officer Gladwin telephoned for help. A police car arrived and rushed Officer Wilson to Providence Hospital. He died less than one hour later. Officer Edwin Wilson was the first SPD Motorcycle Officer to be killed in the line of duty. He was unmarried, and was survived by his parents and siblings including his brother, Rollo Wilson, a Seattle police officer. Rollo retired from service in 1942. Edwin’s funeral procession on 11-28-1919 included sixteen police motorcycles. Officer Edwin Wilson is buried at Washelli Cemetery.

Edwin Wilson was born in Seattle, Columbia City, on November 11, 1889 to Mark and Margaret Wilson. He was raised in Rainier Valley, and attended Columbia School. He worked for several years at a Seattle hotel as a bellboy and clerk. He was commissioned as a Seattle police officer in December 1913. After the start of WW I, Wilson enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to the Navy Intelligence Department, and served in the Pacific before being transferred to Europe where he saw service in France and Italy. He was honorably discharged in the summer of 1919, and returned to his duties as a Seattle police officer.